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Earth Day message from Anglican, Lutheran leaders

Posted on: April 22nd, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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A statement on Earth Day, April 22, 2014 from Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada and Bishop Susan Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

This fragile Earth, our island home”

At your command all things came to be:
The vast expanse of interstellar space,
Galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses,
and this fragile earth, our island home;

By your will they were created and have their being.
Glory to you forever and ever. 

This year’s observance of Earth Day follows immediately on the events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  In them we see movements from enmity to reconciliation, suffering to hope, and death to new life. They speak not only to humanity but also to the interconnectedness of all of creation.

The Scriptures tell us that our first vocation as human beings is to tend God’s creation.  An honest assessment of our diligence in that call inevitably leads us to confess “our waste and pollution of creation and our lack of concern for those who come after us.” (Ash Wednesday Liturgy)

Reports on the state of the environment as documented by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are increasingly alarming.  Of particular concern is the global collapse of oceans and the serious consequences already borne by the poorest nations.  At a climate conference in Warsaw last November, there was an emotional outpouring from countries that face existential threats, among them Bangladesh, which produces just 0.3 per cent of the emissions driving climate change.

In the face of increasing concern and vulnerability in the world voiced especially by the poor and the young, what word does the church speak?  What action do we take?

We learn from global partners.  A call from the Anglican Communion Environmental Network to a deeper commitment to the fifth Mark of Mission shared by Anglicans worldwide influenced the Anglican church’s recent decision to have candidates for baptism make an additional vow “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and respect, sustain, and renew the life of the earth.” (An Act of General Synod, 2013). A call from the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) delegation to COP 19 in Warsaw, Poland (November 11-22, 2013), which included seven young adults, led the Lutheran church to join a global monthly fast in prayerful solidarity with people affected by climate change (#fastfortheclimate).

We raise awareness. Anglican and Lutheran Youth have taken up the challenge of raising awareness of the “Right to Water” through a joint National Youth Project.  Our churches commend the UN effort to reach a global treaty in 2015 to secure a global agreement on a net zero emissions goal. Canada, with the second highest greenhouse gas emissions intensity per capita of the G8 countries[i], is expected to announce an emission-reduction target for 2030 that would be significantly lower than 2020 levels. While progress is being made, without new measures, absolute emissions in 2030 would be projected to reach 815 megatonnes — 81 megatonnes more than projected for 2020.

We act. As Full Communion partners, our churches are committed to learn about issues of resource extraction and the effects on environment, health, Indigenous peoples, communities and economies and to raise awareness within our communities and with policy shapers and decision makers.  We support our partners in defining their own development goals, including supporting Indigenous communities in Canada and elsewhere in exercising their right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent; and act to embed enforceable legal obligations based on FPIC in Canadian policies and practices with respect to resource extraction.  We advocate for responsible and ethical investment and actions by individuals, faith communities, corporations, and governments both in Canada and around the world.  And, we pray for the humility and discipline to use Earth’s resources wisely and responsibly.  These are commitments we are working to put into action.

With our ecumenical and interfaith partners – KAIROS; the Commission on Justice and Peace of the Canadian Council of Churches; the Canadian Interfaith Conversation — we are committed to act from “our faith traditions and sacred texts … to consider the spiritual dimensions of the crisis of ocean and climate change; to take stock of our collective behaviour; to transform cultures of consumerism and waste into cultures of sustainability; and to respect the balance between economic activity and environmental stewardship.” (Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change, 2011)

We encourage each other to act.  We invite individuals, parishes, congregations, dioceses and synods to increase their “stewardship of creation” through green audits, greening strategies and practices that show how much “creation matters.”

We pray. Good Friday reminds us that we have a Saviour who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses and the suffering of creation. Easter Sunday reminds us that we are witnesses of all God does for us, and that we begin each day forgiven and free.

On this Earth Day, our hope is that we will rise up more conscious than ever of our first vocation as human beings caring for the Earth with the utmost respect for the Creator and the utmost regard for the generations of all those who come after us.

From the primal elements
You brought forth the human race,
And blessed us with memory, reason, and skill;
You made us the stewards of creation.
Glory to you for ever and ever.

i Canada’s Sixth National Report on Climate Change (2014), 14.
http://www.ec.gc.ca/cc/16153A64-BDA4-4DBB-A514-B159C5149B55/ Canada%E2%80%99s%20Sixth%20National%20Report%20on%20Climate%20Change.pdf

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, April 22, 2014

A Holy Week message from the Primate

Posted on: April 15th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Fred Hiltz, Archbishop and Primate

 

“May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”
(Galatians 6:14)

On Good Friday, after the Passion of the Lord has been read and prayed, a large rough wooden cross is carried into the midst of the gathered community. A hymn extolling its glory is sung and then the people are invited to come forward for a moment of quiet reflection before the cross.

Some come and leave quickly. Others are a longer time coming but once there they linger.

Some lift up their heads and gaze upon the cross. As the hymn writer says, they “survey” it, striving with St. Paul to “comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love”. (Ephesians 3:18) Others simply bow their heads in prayer.

Some reach out to touch the cross. Others lean forward to kiss it. And a few actually cling to it, yearning perhaps for personal pardon and for reconciliation with others.

Some rise from this moment with tears in their eyes – a mix of sorrow for sins committed and gratitude for sins forgiven. Others rise it seems with awe and wonder, their souls won yet again by the love of our Saviour, “so amazing, so divine”.

However we rise from this moment we make our way from this solemn liturgy into the world. Having looked at the cross we’re now called to “look through the cross”. That’s actually the title of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recommended book for Lent this year. In it we are reminded that the church “stands under a calling to work as far as it can for the unity and harmony of the human race. Its place in the conflicts of the world is not on the sidelines, scolding or weeping, but instead at the heart of those conflicts working to see reconciliation overcome enmity… Perhaps the Church is never more truly itself than when it is busy reconciling enemies, healing rifts, enabling harmony, taking a cross-shaped posture in the world.” A significant measure of our integrity for such work is the extent to which we ourselves truly regard one another, all else aside, as “brothers and sisters for whom Christ died”. (1 Corinthians 8:11)

This is how we enter into that deep silence commemorating Christ’s burial and descent among the dead.

In that silence I invite you to be prayerful – for the Church, its faith, unity, and ministry in every place; and for the world, its healing and reconciliation. Pray for all who govern, all who work to avert escalation of armed conflict within and among the nations, all who labour long and hard for just and lasting peace.

When that deep silence is broken by the message of the angel, “He is Risen”, we find ourselves gathered again around that old rugged cross. Now a white cloth is draped over its arms. It is in fact, in some places, one of the fair linen cloths that cover the altar. Those cloths often bear five crosses – one at each corner, and one in the center, representing the wounds of Christ for us and for our salvation.

As we come to the cross this Holy Week and Easter looking “at it” and “through it” may we know in our hearts and reflect in our lives the great love of our Crucified and Risen Lord.

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, April 14, 2014

Anglican and Lutheran leaders offer joint Holy Week and Easter message

Posted on: April 15th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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GENERAL SYNOD COMMUNICATIONS

Click here to watch the message.

 

In a new online video, National Bishop Susan C. Johnson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC), offer a joint Holy Week and Easter message to the two churches.

The two leaders share their reflections as they attend the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Alberta National Event, March 2014.

The TRC gives survivors of the residential schools an opportunity to share their stories. Most of these stories are of pain, loneliness, and years of lost love.

The TRC also provides an opportunity for the churches and others to offer an expression of reconciliation and a commitment to healing and reconciliation. “We enter this Truth and Reconciliation work with heavy hearts but there certainly are indications that change is about to happen,” says Archbishop Hiltz.

“Holy Week is all about reconciliation,” continues Archbishop Hiltz. “As we make that journey to Good Friday and we see our Lord with arms outstretched on the cross, those are arms of reconciling love, bringing us all into relationship with one another in God who loves each and every one of us.”

Bishop Johnson notes that this year the two leaders will be especially mindful entering into Holy Week and journeying on to Easter because of the stories they experienced at the TRC. “As we celebrate our Lord’s passion and remember his death, we will hear the cries of pain and loss that we have heard these few days,” she says.

“As we prepare to celebrate the joyful celebration of Easter [we will] count on our Lord to bring us a new dawn, a new hope of a future that will take away this pain and lead us into right relationships,” says Bishop Johnson.

The ACC and ELCIC have enjoyed a full communion partnership since 2001. This relationship is lived out in many ways, including using each other’s liturgies and serving as clergy in each other’s churches. Several joint Anglican-Lutheran parishes and cooperative ministries have sprung up across Canada.

In July 2013, the ELCIC and ACC gathered together at a Joint Assembly of the ELCIC National Convention and the ACC General Synod in Ottawa, Ont.

This year, Lutherans and Anglicans will host a joint National Worship Conference and Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth (CLAY) gathering.

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, April 15, 2014

 

Royal couple visit New Zealand cathedral

Posted on: April 14th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Bishop Victoria Matthews tells the royal couple about the new transitional cathedral
Photo Credit: Jayson Rhodes/AnglicanTaonga
 
 

From AnglicanTaonga.org.nz

Prince William concluded a visit to Christchurch’s Transitional Cathedral today with a promise to return, perhaps to ‘open buildings and cut ribbons.’

The Prince also acknowledged the importance of the relationship between the church and the city.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were given a tour of the Transitional Cathedral by Bishop Victoria Matthews and Dean Lynda Paterson. 

As features of the building were explained, the Cathedral Choir sang HIne e Hin e. 

Prince William and Katherine were then photographed with the choir.

While chatting with the boys, the royal couple asked how often they sang in the Cathedral. 

One boy responded: ‘Too much.’ 

Bishop Victoria said the royal visit was extremely important for both the city and the church.

“Prince William came to Christchurch after the February 2011 earthquake, and to see new buildings such as the Transitional Cathedral that speak of hope, shows his ongoing support and relationship with this city.”

The royal couple left the Cathedral with a gift for George; a newly published book called ‘Kia Kaha’s Brand New House.’  

This is the second in a series by Clare Erasmus and tells of a cathedral mouse, called Kia Kaha, getting a new home after the earthquake damages the Cathedral in the Square. 

The author, Clare Erasmus, who is part of the Cathedral community, presented copies of the books. 

The Duke and Duchess said they would each be able to read one of the books to George. 

The books tell of the earthquake losses and point forward with the building of the Transitional Cathedral as a new home for Kia Kaha. 

Clare Erasmus said she felt privileged that George would have books read to him about the much-loved city of Christchurch.  

The couple acknowledged staff and volunteers in the foyer of the Cathedral before heading from the quiet of the Transitional Cathedral to a walkabout in Latimer Square.  

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Anglican Communion News Service [ACNS], April 14, 2014

 

Ecumenism must involve dialogue & social action, says Welby

Posted on: April 12th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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(L to R) The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins,  at an ecumenical reception in St. James Cathedral Centre. Welby visited  the Anglican Church of Canada April 7 to 8.  Photo: Michael Hudson 

 

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has underscored the value of continuing ecumenical dialogue at a “passionate theological level” while at the same time having “a closer relationship of action” that addresses the needs of the world in such areas as poverty and social justice.

Ecumenism must be “something that is our burning desire,” Welby told a gathering of ecumenical guests at a reception at Toronto’s St. James’ Cathedral Centre, during his “personal, pastoral visit” to the Anglican Church of Canada April 8 to 9.  “In the last seven verses of John: 17, Jesus prays with extraordinary passion and extraordinary directness about the absolute necessity of the visible unity of the church…Love one another…”

In a divided and diverse world, Welby said the church could demonstrate “how humanity can overcome its cultural divisions and truly be…a holy nation of God’s people.”

In different parts of the world, there has been “a new movement of the spirit,” said Welby. He cited a decision by Chemin Neuf, a Jesuit-founded French Catholic community with an ecumenical vocation, to accept his invitation to take up residence in Lambeth Palace.

Last January, four members set up “a fraternity” in Lambeth Palace. “We hope that is something that will grow and develop,” said Welby, adding that he and his wife, Caroline, got to know the community over the last seven years. (The archbishop’s spiritual director is a Swiss Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Nicholas Buttet.)

The Guardian newspaper has noted that the move breaks five centuries of Anglican tradition and ushers “a further rapprochement between the churches of England and  Rome.”

Welby also noted that his relationship with Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols has been “very, very warm,” and that they meet regularly on Sunday afternoons. They recently launched Listen to God: Hear the Poor, a special week of prayer for Christian social action. 

“Everything we do in church has to be rooted in theology, theological anthropology and ecclesiology. Those are things we cannot and must not avoid,” said Welby. But at the same time, he said, Christians must draw on “the riches that God has given us.” He noted how Catholic social teachings have been “formative influences of my own thinking in terms of the ministry of the church, and the most powerful one from which I’ve learned and continue to learn.”

In his remarks, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, noted that Welby has made a commitment to ecumenical dialogue “and furthering the realization of our Lord’s prayer that we may all be one.”

In his first year of ministry, the Archbishop of Canterbury has named as priorities “evangelism, resurgence of prayer and religious life in the church, and reconciliation,” said Hiltz. “At the heart of reconciliation [is] reconciliation within his own church…with the Anglican Communion…with the whole church.”

Archdeacon Bruce Myers, co-ordinator for ecumenical and interfaith relations at the Anglican Church of Canada’s General Synod, said he welcomed Welby’s reminder that “we, as divided churches, must continue to painstakingly work out the knots of our theological differences while at the same time giving practical expression to the unity we already share by engaging together in mission.”

Myers said the fact that Welby set aside time in his tight schedule to meet with the Anglican Church of Canada’s ecumenical partners is “a measure of the value he, our church and our communion place on being attentive to our relationships with other Christians.”

The gathering also gave the Anglican church’s partners “a glimpse of what it means for Canadian Anglicans to be a part of a worldwide family of churches like the Anglican Communion, and why that’s an important aspect of our identity.”

Before the reception, Welby and the ecumenical guests gathered for vespers at  the historic Cathedral Church of St. James.

The ecumenical guests included the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins; Nora Sanders, general secretary of the United Church of Canada; the Rev. Stephen Kendall, principal clerk of the Presbyterian Church in Canada; Lt. Col. Jim Champ, of the Salvation Army, who is also president of the Canadian Council of Churches; and the Rev. Karen Hamilton, general secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches.

Also present were Archbishop Colin Johnson, of the Anglican diocese of Toronto and metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Ontario; and the Very Rev. Douglas Stoute, dean of Toronto.

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Anglican Journal News, April 11, 2014

Welbys visit Canadian church offices

Posted on: April 9th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Leigh Anne Williams

 

 

(Left to right) Cynthia Herrera and Emily Fe Honoridez chat with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby as their co-workers Margaret Davidson, Evelyn Hinchcliffe, Kathy Edgar and Teresa Mandricks wait to welcome him to the national offices of the Anglican Church of Canada in Toronto.  Photo: Leigh Anne Williams


 

The national office of the Anglican Church of Canada in Toronto was abuzz with excitement as staff welcomed Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and his wife, Caroline, for a brief stop in a tightly scheduled visit to Canada from April 7 to 9. 

Following a morning worship service and a meeting with Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, then a private luncheon in support of Canterbury Cathedral, the Welbys came to “Church House” in downtown Toronto, where there was a brief meeting with General Synod directors and management and reception with the staff.

Sharing her impressions from the meeting with management, Monica Patten, interim director of the Resources for Mission department, said, “There’s a sense of humility about him and clarity about what he sees and what his vision is and the areas of priority that I think he intends to work on.” She added that she was struck by the impression that “in a relatively short time he so deeply understands the Anglican Communion—both the opportunity and the potential as well as the challenges and he doesn’t actually seem to shy away from either of those.” 

Henriette Thompson, director of public witness for social and ecological justice, who was also in the meeting, said, “One of the things that I am taking away from this Archbishop’s visit is the wonderful degree of commitment he has to the Anglican church as a church of reconciliation and bridge-building. From his visits around the Communion, he described how the church is building bridges in so many different contexts.”

National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald, who had met Archbishop Welby previously in South Korea during the World Council of Churches meeting, said he appreciates Archbishop Welby’s focus on reconciliation, particularly looking at the effects of colonization. “It was really gratifying to see his enthusiasm and excitement about what’s happening in the Anglican Church of Canada. I think he’s really aiming in the right direction. I think he’s going to have a big impact.” 

Following the meeting, the primate introduced the Welbys to staff at a small reception in the lobby of the national office, and they gamely dove into the crowd to meet as many of the staff as possible in the brief time before they were due at an ecumenical vespers service at the Cathedral Church of St. James.

“I think it’s really admirable of him to spend a year travelling around the Communion meeting all the primates,” said Simon Chambers, communications co-ordinator for the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF).  “The travel must be exhausting and gruelling, but he’s been very gracious.” 

Many staff commented on the Archbishop’s friendly and humble manner.

PWRDF public engagement co-ordinator Suzanne Rumsey said she and her late father, who was an Anglican priest, used to discuss brushes with fame. “He’d be very pleased about this one,” she said after meeting both the Archbishop and his wife.

“We’re really grateful that he chose to come,” said Evelyn Hinchcliffe, after she and her pension office colleagues Kathy Edgar and Sonia Bernard chatted with the Archbishop.

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Anglican Journal News, April 8, 2014

Anglican website for evangelism, church growth resources launched

Posted on: April 7th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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The new website was built by the core group of the Anglican Witness: Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative
 
 

By ACNS staff

Anglicans and Episcopalians interested in evangelism and church growth now have a new website where they can find the latest resources and examples of best practice. 

Anglicanwitness.org is described as “a one stop shop resource hub for church growth, discipleship, youth and children ministry, and other forms of evangelism.”

It was built by the core group of the Anglican Witness: Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative, who says the site “brings together Anglicans from across the world committed to strengthening evangelism within communities, seeing churches grow spiritually and numerically in capacity to engage the whole of God’s creation with Christ’s love, and seeing God’s name glorified in every day life experience.”

Core group convener Patrick Yu, Area Bishop of York Scarborough and Bishop Suffragan of Toronto, said today, “From [the initiative's] inception, members of the core group, appointed from every region of the Communion, have wrestled with how to animate and resource evangelism, which is the first mark and cutting edge of mission. 

“On the one hand, we struggle to define the scope of our mandate.  With the help of the Anglican Consultative Council and its standing committee, we identified some priorities: discipleship, reaching youth and children, sharing news that encourages and concerns that invite prayer, highlighting those not yet reached, and building a sound basis of resources on Evangelism and Church Growth from an Anglican perspective.

“On the other hand, we strive to find the most effective means to fulfill this mandate. To this end we began Witness 6.7, a newsletter which can be accessed mainly on line, we began a Facebook community, Anglican Witness, and we have a link in the Anglican Communion Office website.”

The website is the latest in the Core Group’s resources to assist people around the Anglican world. Bishop Yu stressed that having a separate website did not disconnect evangelism and church growth from the other Marks of Mission. Rather it reflected the “Potentially vast amount of information and links that this mark alone will involve.”

Director for Mission of the Anglican Communion Office said, “This is an exciting development and I would like to invite Anglicans and Episcopalians everywhere to recommend resources that exist out there for addition to this website, thereby keeping this tool up to date and relevant to all.

“No doubt there are many Anglicans/Episcopalians who have no access to internet but we also know that accessibility to internet and social media is growing even in remotest parts of the world.”

Visit the new website at http://www.anglicanwitness.org 

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Anglican Communion News Service [ACNS], April 7, 2014

 

Archbishop of Canterbury awaited in Canada

Posted on: April 4th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Anglican Journal staff

 

Archbishop Justin Welby and his wife Caroline (centre), accompanied by Archbishop Dr John Holder (right), primate of the Province of the West Indies and bishop of Barbados, share a laugh with people they met during their visit to the Church of the Province of the West Indies in 2013. Photo: archbishopofcanterbury.org


 

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and his wife, Caroline, are expected to arrive in Canada on Monday, April 7, for a “ personal, pastoral visit,” with Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

The brief visit is a part of Welby’s personal commitment to visit the primates (senior archbishops) of the Anglican Communion, to meet them and learn about their provinces prior to the next meeting of all the primates. 

No major public events are planned, in keeping with Welby’s request that the visit be a private one. His itinerary for April 8, the one full day of his stay, will include a morning visit to the Sisters of St. John the Divine Convent, a private luncheon in support of Canterbury Cathedral and an afternoon meeting with General Synod leaders at the national office, followed by a reception with staff. Welby will then go to the Cathedral Church of St. James in downtown Toronto for an ecumenical vespers service at 4:30 p.m. and a meeting with ecumenical leaders from Canadian churches.

In the evening, he will attend and speak at a reception and dinner with Canadian Anglicans involved with the work of the Anglican Communion at Cathedral House.

He will leave early the following morning, to meet in the United States with Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of The Episcopal Church.

Welby—who has had a long ministry in conflict resolution—announced his intention to visit every primate across the Anglican Communion during his first 18 months in office soon after he was enthroned. He has said that his visits are aimed at fostering friendship and “mutual understanding.” The 75-million strong Anglican Communion has been trying to heal divisions in theological differences over such issues as sexuality and the ordination of women. 

Welby has already travelled to Barbados, Guatemala, Mexico, Kenya, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan, among other countries.

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Anglican Journal News,   April 4, 2014

TRC chair: ‘Mutual respect’ key to reconciliation

Posted on: March 31st, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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The seventh and final national event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), which is being held in Edmonton, will focus its conversations on reconciliation. Photo: Erin Green/General Synod Communications 


 

The seventh and final national event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) began in Edmonton March 27 with TRC chair Justice Murray Sinclair stating that the goal of reconciliation must be to establish “a relationship of mutual respect” between indigenous and non-indigenous people of Canada.

With only a year left in its term, the TRC’s last event will focus its conversations on reconciliation, Sinclair told thousands who gathered at the Shaw Centre for the Alberta National Event. “What should we as commissioners say to Canadian society and the world about what we have to do about this [reconciliation]?”

Canadian Anglicans led by the primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, are attending the event, which ends Sunday, March 30. From the mid-19th to the 20th century, churches—including the Anglican Church of Canada—operated 130 federally funded schools for more than 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children as part of the Canadian government’s forced assimilation policy. Many former students reported sexual, physical and emotional abuse at these schools and the consequences have rippled across generations. The Anglican church operated 30 schools, including seven in the province of Alberta: Atikameg (White Fish Lake), Blackfoot Reserve (Gleichen), Blood Reserve (Cardston), Brocket, Lesser Slave Lake, Wabasca and Whitefish Lake.

Sinclair reminded those gathered that the TRC was established as a key component of the revised 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement at the request of former residential school students who wanted to tell the Canadian public and the world about their experiences.  

The mandated events have been important in helping survivors to heal and in forging “a nationally memory for this country to ensure that these won’t happen again,” said Sinclair. 

Achieving mutual respect requires leaders across the country to stand up publicly and say, “we need to change things, we need to change the way we talk and behave,” said Sinclair in his remarks, which were streamed live at the TRC’s website. “It begins with this: our leaders today must learn to talk to and about each other in a more respectful way.”

Racist attitudes toward indigenous people have been institutionally ingrained, but they can be undone, said Sinclair. “People are not naturally born to be racist—we teach them to be; we model that behaviour for them.”

Sinclair urged the youth to carry forward the task of reconciliation, saying that it will not be achieved within the TRC’s term and possibly not even in this lifetime. “It’s a heavy responsibility…but we will achieve it, if we commit to it,” said Sinclair. “We can’t allow the current situation to continue anymore.”

Sinclair also called on survivors to help young aboriginal men and women recover the language, culture and spirituality that were lost during the 130-year legacy of residential schools. He noted that aboriginal youth are not only demanding to know who they are and what it means to be an Inuk, an Anishnabe, a Dene or a Métis, they also want to be able to say that they are proud of their identity. “We want them to say that [they are proud of who they are], but in order for them to say that, we have to give them something more than anger; we have to give them something more than frustration. We have to give them a pathway to self-respect and pride,” he said.

TRC Commissioner Marie Wilson, for her part, urged Canadians to work together for reconciliation, saying that while the past can no longer be changed, “we can address the present square on.”

She said those gathered at the event are there not as conference participants, spectators or witnesses, but as “implicated witnesses” who have inherited this sad chapter of Canada’s history. “We can decide together, as ancestors of the future, what we choose to leave as a legacy about what our country will become.”

At the opening ceremonies, which the TRC noted was being held in Treaty 6 territory, Elder Bob Cardinal began his opening prayer by reminding people to look at the prayer cloth on stage, which he said was a symbol of “getting along together, loving one another and trying to walk a good way.” 

Meanwhile, Canada’s former prime minister, Joe Clark, said that it is critical for Canada to “hear, heal and move forward together,” adding that its whole future will suffer “if we fail to reconcile with the past.”

Clark, along with 13 other prominent Canadians, were inducted as honorary witnesses for the TRC, whose goal is to raise awareness about the residential school experience and encourage Canadians to work toward healing and reconciliation.

Canadians as a whole “must recognize what deep damage was done in our name by our institutions—the government and churches,” said Clark. However, he said, the residential school system was “only one part of the unfairness and disrespect with which we have treated our indigenous citizens.” He pointed to the government’s “sorry record” involving treaties and the continuing high rates of disease, mortality and imprisonment affecting aboriginal people. The relationship between government and First Nations leadership has been “fractious and disappointing,” and there has been a decline in genuine interest in indigenous issues among non-indigenous Canadians, he added.

There is a rising tide of disappointment among aboriginal people as a result of continuing injustices, said Clark, who warned that “disappointment as a social force is becoming more combustible.” 

Other honorary witnesses inducted at the Alberta National Event were: Governor General David Johnston, Frank Iacobucci (former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada), Dr. Evan Adams (deputy provincial officer, B.C.), Dr. Cindy Blackstock (executive director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada),  Wetaskiwin Mayor Bill Elliot, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, Atty. Jim Gladstone (former world champion calf roper), David Langtry (acting chief commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission), Jane Middelton-Moz (authority in multi-generational trauma, director of the Middelton-Moz Institute), Dr. Mary Simon (chairperson, National Committee on Inuit Education), David Tuccaro (founder, president and CEO, Tuccaro Inc.), Joseph Boyden (award-winning author), and Wab Kinew (musician, broadcaster and educator).

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Anglican Journal News, March 31, 2014

Taizé: Some echoes of the past weeks

Posted on: March 27th, 2014 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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In March, the hundreds of young people present week after week came from many different countries. Among them, a group of Protestant students from Clermont-Ferrand wrote: “This trip to Taizé, a meeting-place for exchange and sharing, was the first for most of us. It was very rewarding, and an opportunity to meditate and breathe spiritually. We felt a real Christian unity there. The simple life allows the walls of intolerance that can sometimes exist between Christians to fall down.”

In the community prayer, the liturgy is characterized by the expectation of Easter. Some young adults have chosen this time of year to spend a week in silent retreat with a specific program. During one of the weekends, the “open house ” at the pottery allowed many people in the area to visit the workshops of the community.

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News from Taizé by email – 27 March 2014